Matthew Yglesias

Matthew Yglesias is a senior editor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a former Prospect staff writer, and the author of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.

Recent Articles

Penalty Kicks

Considering that he's the sort of man who's not above pretending to like Cheez Whiz in order to gain a fleeting political advantage, it should come as no surprise to learn that George W. Bush thinks of the Olympics less as a celebration of athleticism than as yet another opportunity for electioneering. Thus, while the unofficial Bush campaign was busy spreading lies and baseless innuendo about John Kerry's war record, the official campaign launched a new ad lauding the president's supposed success in spreading the blessings of freedom around the world. It was a good choice. Americans like the Olympics, and because our men's soccer team failed to qualify, the field was open for the United States to root for some other nation. And, so far, the Iraqis are doing well. So well, in fact, that Matt Drudge (a key player in the aforementioned unofficial campaign and hence someone potentially in a position to know) has reported that the White House is contemplating a surprise trip to Athens,...

It's His Party

I've sort of grown to like Bob Dole over the years, mostly because he's shown himself to be a genuinely funny guy, able to move beyond the sort of faux-earnest self-righteousness of the practicing politician ever since he lost the presidential race. That, combined with his age (81) and the fact that he was missing from the scene during the impeachment fracas of 1998, was enough to make me nostalgic for the guy. He seemed like the last of the old-school, pre-Gingrich Republicans. But his hypocritical appearance on CNN's Late Edition is a good reminder that roughly the reverse is true: He was the first of the new school. When old-school Gerald Ford was running for re-election, he came under pressure from the GOP's right wing to dump incumbent Vice President Nelson Rockefeller in favor of someone a little more hardcore. Ford came up with Dole, and the right was appeased. Atrios has rounded up some of Dole's more hacktacular moments from that era, but Dole's real sins came later. Way back...

Sense and Sensitivity

On August 5, speaking to the UNITY conference of minority journalists, John Kerry said, "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history." It seems to have been an ad lib, and, in retrospect, not an especially wise one. Still, the sentiment clearly expressed therein is a fairly anodyne one. Republicans will surely deny that a Kerry administration would, in fact, fight a more effective war on terrorism, but they can hardly deny that it's a worthy goal -- and one would have to drink a lot of Kook-Aid indeed to believe that there is no room for improvement over current policies. Thus Kerry sought to join a debate -- which candidate will be more effective in combating terrorism -- that could prove highly inconvenient for the Bush administration. The president's main contribution to the war on terrorism, after all,...

The Brains Thing

Remember the 2000 election? With the country enjoying a seemingly endless spell of peace and prosperity, and no apparent daunting challenges facing the next chief executive, the media were finally granted the chance to construct a narrative entirely around personalities. Al Gore, based on a handful of small exaggerations and his association with the occasionally sordid behavior of Bill Clinton, was said to have a character problem. George W. Bush, meanwhile, was haunted by a lack of experience and intelligence. This left liberals flustered. Most of Gore's “lies” were, in fact, nothing of the sort; he was, upon examination, not the same person as Clinton; and finally, his Vietnam experience -- he enlisted in the Army upon graduation from Harvard -- contrasted favorably with his opponent's. But liberals never figured out how to convert these facts into a character argument on Gore's behalf. Conservatives, on the other hand, had a ready answer to the charges leveled against their...

Pants on Fire

How does a candidate go about getting nearly a majority of the votes while advocating a tax program that will overwhelmingly benefit a tiny, super-wealthy elite? As the invaluable All The President's Spin , a new book from the editors of Spinsanity.org , ably documents, you mislead people. You say your plan will benefit all taxpayers when, in fact, the millions of workers who pay no federal income tax but do pay payroll tax get nothing at all. You say that under your plan "a single waitress supporting two children on an income of $22,000 ... will pay no income tax at all," when such a person already pays no income tax. You say your plan will dedicate 25 percent of the surplus to tax cuts when the real figure is 35 percent. Last, but by no means least, you say, "the highest-percentage tax cuts go to the lowest-income Americans." As the book explains, "By this logic, a low-income person whose income tax liability was reduced from $100 to $50 (a 50 percent cut) would have benefited more...

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